Singapore is known as the myopia capital of the world. We have one of the highest rates of short-sightedness. In fact, as it stands, 11% of pre-schoolers in Singapore have myopia.
This number increases to 50% in primary school and further increases to a staggering 80% by the time they enter the workforce as young adults.
You’ll need capital (and a lot of it) to manage your child’s myopia effectively
Aside from affecting our visions, myopia can also hurt our wallets.
1 in 4 children develop short-sightedness in Primary 1 at 7 years old. Assuming your child gets diagnosed with myopia when they enter primary school and decides to get a corrective procedure, for instance, LASIK, when they are older at 21 years old, (that’s 14 years of treating and managing myopia), you will likely spend on:
- Contact lenses
- Corrective procedures (e.g. LASIK)
- Eye checks
Here’s a cost breakdown.
For most of us, soon after our children are diagnosed with myopia, the first order of business is to get a pair of spectacles fitted.
There’s a wide range of frames and lenses available locally. You can easily get more affordable options below $100 or splurge on higher-end options for around $600.
Besides that, depending on whether your child has other prevailing eye conditions like astigmatism or far-sightedness, you will also need to take into account the need for lens customization. Blue light filter add-ons also account for additional costs.
Presumably, you spend an average of $125 on each pair of spectacles for your child and change them every 2 years. This means your child would require approximately 14 ÷ 2 = 7 pairs of glasses from age 7 to 21.
Total spectacle cost over 14 years = $125 x 7 = $875
Along the way, as your child starts getting more active and involved in extracurricular activities, be it sports CCAs or regular PE lessons, he/she may want to switch to wearing contact lenses for convenience or even for vanity purposes.
On average, children in Singapore start wearing contacts at 13 years old.
Suppose your child starts wearing contact lenses in secondary school at 13 years old. Then, you’ll have to mull over the type of contact lenses to get your child: Daily? Biweekly? Monthly? Or even yearly?
Here are some of the estimated costs (normal contact lenses only) *derived from W Optics online shop.
Do note that these are just basic disposable lenses without correction for astigmatism or far-sightedness; custom-made ones would definitely be pricier. Not forgetting, contacts require regular cleaning with contact lens solution (read: extra cost) to prevent eye infection.
Assuming your child prefers monthly contacts to daily ones, you will need to purchase around a staggering 8 x 12 = 96 pairs to last them from age 13 to 21!
Total cost of contact lenses over 8 years = $27 x 96 = $2,592
Corrective procedures (e.g. LASIK)
When your child reaches adulthood, their eye prescription stabilizes. Eventually, they may find glasses or contacts bothersome and consider going for a refractive surgery such as LASIK (a form of laser eye surgery) to correct their myopia.
This could be the most bank-breaking part for an individual with myopia. There are different kinds of corrective procedures for different eye conditions in the market, but LASIK remains the most popular choice to correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Note: minimum age to undergo LASIK is 18 years old.
For LASIK, the price ranges from $3,500 to $6,000 depending on the type of procedure and the clinic you engage.
Total cost of corrective procedures = $4,750 (average)
Last but not least, having your child attend regular and comprehensive eye checks can help identify vision problems, including myopia, early. This is absolutely key in managing their eye conditions and to prevent them from deteriorating further.
In fact, even after your child is diagnosed with myopia and is prescribed with spectacles, regular follow-up eye checks can help in monitoring their myopia progression and ensures that their spectacles provide adequate correction.
Apart from routine eye examinations conducted in schools, your child may require extra spectacle prescriptions and contact lens fitting sessions, which may be provided free-of-charge or for a small fee by opticians in optical shops. For comprehensive eye tests, prices may range from $35 to $125.
SingHealth recommends children between the ages of 3 to 20 to go for comprehensive eye checks every 1 to 2 years. The American Optometric Association also advocates for eye checks every 2 years for adults.
Following the guidelines, your child would make at least 14 ÷ 2 = 7 visits to the optometrist between 7 to 21 years old.
Total cost of optometrist visits over 14 years = 7 x $80 (average) = $560
So… How much exactly?
If your child has myopia, you’ll rack up approximately:
That’s equivalent to about a year’s worth of university fees!
Taking a preventive stance
Children who develop myopia at an early age are at risk of high myopia later in life, which can lead to debilitating vision problems like glaucoma, cataract, retina tears and muscular degeneration and even blindness.
It is crucial to bring children for regular eye checks to help with early detection of any potential issues. Book your eye check appointments here.
Parents should cultivate good eye care habits in their children from young, especially in this digital age. That’s exactly why we at Plano have developed a science-based parental control app to help you manage your child’s screen time and protect their eyesight with an engaging points-based reward system. Download the app here to start promoting eyedeal habits in your child today!
Beyond that, remember to take your kids to get regular and timely comprehensive eye tests.
We created Plano Eyecheck, an easy-to-use online platform to connect families in Singapore to their nearest optometrist. Locate, book and manage your appointments for a variety of eye care services, including comprehensive eye check-ups and myopia control consultations here.
*Plano Eyecheck is currently in Singapore with plans to expand internationally to close the loop for eye care service delivery worldwide.